The Crown jumps to the 1990s with a new cast

The Crown jumps to the 1990s with a new cast

The crown

The crown
Photo: netflix

[Editor’s note: The A.V. Club will publish new episode recaps of The Crown’s fifth season every weekday through November 22. Going forward, these recaps will drop at 1 a.m. Eastern.]

Well that’s clumsy.

Watch, when creator and executive producer Peter Morgan was writing the premiere of sseason five of The crown, “Queen Victoria Syndrome”, of course he had no idea that by the time he came across Netflix Queen Elizabeth II would be dead and the titular crown would be on her son’s head, now the King Charles III. But even unintentionally, the dramatic irony of seeing the fictional Charles (Dominic West) attempt to oust his mother from the throne in 1991, more than 30 years before her death, is something. Welcome to another season of The crown!

Like theseason-Three Preview, “Queen Victoria Syndrome” faces the tricky task of introducing us to an all-new cast playing the same old roles in what essentially feels like another pilot episode. But first we look at a black-and-white reel of Elizabeth by Claire Foy, launching the new royal yacht, Britannia, in 1953. In her speech, young Elizabeth compared herself to the ship, saying she hoped she and the yacht would be both “reliable and consistent, able to withstand the weather any storm.Even the storm that was Princess Diana in the 1990s?We are about to find out.

Subtlety is not That of the Crown thing. Each episode brings together all the events of the moment, both historical and personal, under the aegis of a rigid theme. The theme for this episode is Elizabeth = Britannia, and if you missed that while Claire Foy was telling you, the script will hit you over the head a dozen more times before the hour is up.

We see many parts of Imelda Staunton as 1991’s Queen Elizabeth before we see the whole thing: her eyes examined, a tongue depressor in her mouth, a stethoscope over her shoulder. Her doctor tells her at the end of this examination that the less time she spends on her feet the better, and she reminds her that this is an occupational hazard. She’s about to set sail for Balmoral, the Scottish castle where the royal family spends their summers, and the doctor asks her if it’s her favorite home. She scolds him, almost in tears, for the personal question, but adds that it’s her second favorite, after another close to her heart (the yacht, of course).

As Elizabeth boards Britannia with Philip (Jonathan Pryce), we cut to the other prominent royal couple, about to board their own ship. Charles is delighted to hear the results of a recent poll, in which people said they thought the Queen was old, expensive and out of touch, and Charles as young, modern and empathetic. Who are these people? I would like a word. But the pressing matter is that he’s about to leave for Italy for a family vacation, and his lackey informs him that they’ve told the press it’s a second honeymoon. Because what people love most about the idea of ​​Charles as king is Diana as queen.

Cut to Diana being told by her own people about the masquerade. This is our first glimpse of Elizabeth Debicki in the role, and it took my breath away. She looks up with those eyes, smiling behind her hand at the thought of going on a “second honeymoon” with Charles. Emma Corrin nailed a lot of mannerisms last season, but Debicki simply is Diana.

At the beginning, the family vacation (plus the friends Charles insists on bringing) feels far from where we left this miserable couple last season. Diana tells Charles with a young Harry in her lap that she’s glad they’re doing this, and that theyagrees to “give them some old magic” as they greet the press from the ship, Charles kissing Diana on the cheek. But that breaks down pretty quickly: Charles has planned an itinerary of sightseeing ruins and other historic outings, and dresses Diana to request excursions like beaches and shopping. “Anyone else interested in retail as a hobby?” he sneers at an awkwardly silent guest table aboard the ship. (In my notes: “What an ass.”)

Image for article titled The Crown jumps to the 1990s with a new cast

Photo: netflix

But things take a really bad turn when Charles decides to cut his vacation short because he managed to get an article published in The Sunday Times on the results of the poll, arguing that Elizabeth would have to abdicate in order to ascend the throne. The article accuses him of having ‘Queen Victoria Syndrome’, a reference to Queen Victoria’s own refusal to pass the crown to her son, Edward VII, who was heir to the throne for almost 60 years. year. Buzzing with excitement, Charles wants to return to London to arrange a meeting with the Prime Minister. Diana is furious, but Charles is unstoppable.

He sits down with Prime Minister John Major (Jonny Lee Miller) and does some pretty aggressive sucking before moving on to the topic of the article. “It’s just a poll,” Major says humorously. A little deflated but not discouraged, Charles encourages him to assess Elizabeth when they next meet at Balmoral.

Back on the Britannia, Philip notices mechanical problems with the boat and realizes it needs some repairs. They discuss the need for a refit, with Philip pointing out that the 40-year-old yacht is nearing the end of its life. “In many ways, it’s obsolete,” he says. “Emotionally, we would all like to stay with her.”

“I hope!” Elizabeth replies, as aware of symbolism as the rest of us.

When The Sunday Times room fate, his staff and even Philip go to great lengths to hide the article from him, wanting to spare his feelings, before Elizabeth asks to see it. She is hurt but assures the Prime Minister, now in town for the Ghillies Ball, that she takes any comparison with Queen Victoria as a compliment. Then she turns to her business and asks for money to fix Britannia, which the government is maintaining. Major repelsthe country is in the midst of the most difficult economic recession since the warand says public spending on renovating a luxury yacht would backfire on both of them.

Elizabeth grows cold at the idea that the yacht is a luxury. She calls Britannia, not inherited from her predecessors but commissioned during the Queen’s reign, “a floating, maritime expression of me”. She doesn’t ask, she demands, and Major backs off.

Image for article titled The Crown jumps to the 1990s with a new cast

Photo: netflix

The episode ends at the ball, where Charles prompts Major about his mother’s attachment to the yacht: “Sometimes those old things cost too much to keep fixing.” I leave you with this thought. Then, in the episode’s only truly silly write-up, Diana tells the Prime Minister that she and Charles, Andrew and Sarah, and Anne and Mark are all heading for divorce within a year. This is an absurd development. Why would Diana share the state of her marriage with the Prime Minister? Couldn’t he have heard Margaret (Lesley Manville) talk about it? Bbut he sets up the speech he makes to his wife to end the episode. When he took on the role of Prime Minister, he never imagined that his potential challenges would be arguing with this messed up family, who would ultimately have to ‘unite the nation’ and set an example of ‘family life’. ideal”.

He pauses dramatically.

“We feel that everything is about to burston my watch.

You are right, sir. Iit’s going to be a hectic season.

Spurious observations

  • Balmoral was widely regarded as the Queen’s favorite home. IThat’s where she was when she died.
  • The montage of Imelda Staunton cutting ribbons and giving speeches during her final round of royal duties before Elizabeth is up for the summer, I’m sorry to say, absently recalls Staunton in her role as Dolores Umbridge. Going from Claire Foy to Olivia Coleman was difficult, too, so I want to give myself time to adjust to our new queen.
  • Much has been made of Dominic West as Charles (casting as generous as possible). Josh Charles imbues the young prince with maddening petulance and deep loneliness so you can hate him and feel sorry for him all at the same time. While I see West doing that deep, deliberate frown with his mouth, I’m skeptical he could inhabit Charles along the same lines.
  • Little Prince Harry says he wants to go shopping too, and Elizabeth thanks him for standing up for her. His reward? Super Mario before bed! Bring on the nostalgia of the 90s.
  • Princess Anne (Claudia Harrison) makes an appearance in this episode to flirt with her mother and ask about a new member of staff, dismissing Elizabeth’s protests that she is married. Because the theme of this episode is nautical, she is obsessed with lighthouses (business), “those beacons of light in an otherwise dark and lonely night”.

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